News Briefs

January 6, 2019
Iran announced that several satellites are ready to be launched after concluding pre-launch testing. The Payam imagery satellite, manufactured by Amirkabir University of Technology, weighs 90 kg and will be sent into 500 km orbit using the Simorgh rocket. The Dousti imagery satellite will also be sent into 500 km orbit and was manufactured at Sharif University of Technology. The Nahid-1 telecommunications satellite was manufactured at the Iranian Space Agency. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the announcement, saying that satellite launches defy a U.N. Security Council resolution restricting activity related to ballistic missiles. 
-- Tehran Times
January 5, 2019
Iran's Expediency Council approved, with some changes, an anti-money laundering bill intended to help the country meet standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This approval resolves a dispute between Iran's Parliament, which passed the bill last year, and the Guardian Council, which subsequently rejected the bill. Iran's compliance with FATF standards and its removal from the organization's blacklist are critical to facilitating foreign trade, including through the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) payment mechanism planned by the European Union. 
-- Reuters
December 5, 2018
Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies, was arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities on suspicion that she violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.  The U.S. Justice Department has requested Meng be extradited to the United States, where she faces undisclosed charges brought by the Justice Department's Eastern District of New York office.  Huawei has been under investigation over suspected Iran sanctions violations since at least 2016. Meng, who is 46, is also the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei.  
-- Globe and Mail
December 2, 2018
Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons on December 1. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the test, which he said violated a U.N. Security Council resolution, and urged Iran to halt missile testing. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi defended Iran's missile program as "defensive in nature" and but neither confirmed nor denied that the test had taken place. 
-- The Wall Street Journal
December 1, 2018
French financial services firm Societe Generale has agreed to pay $1.34 billion as part of multiple settlement agreements with the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Federal Reserve, the New York Department of Financial Services, and the Manhattan District Attorney over violations of U.S. sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Libya, and Sudan. The settlements include a three-year deferred prosecution agreement on a felony charge of conspiracy to violate the Trading with the Enemy Act. Societe Generale voluntarily reported the violations, which included processing billions of dollars of transactions on behalf of these countries in the U.S. financial system. 
-- Export Practitioner
November 22, 2018
British businessman Alexander George was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating export controls. George procured military hardware, including Russian MiG and U.S. F4 Phantom parts, and illicitly shipped them to Iran via his companies in Malaysia and Dubai. George enlisted the help of a British couple, Paul and Iris Attwater, to procure U.S.-origin parts and ship them to George's companies in Malaysia using their company, Pairs Aviation. After being questioned by HM Revenue and Customs in 2010, George and the Attwaters began shipping the items to the Netherlands under the name of a British Virgin Islands-registered company, before shipping them to Iran via Malaysia. The Attwaters received a six-month suspended prison sentence for their role. 
-- The Guardian
November 22, 2018
At a meeting to review the operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Ward expressed "longstanding concerns that Iran maintains a chemical weapons program" that has not been declared to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Specifically, he cited Iran's failure to declare transfers of chemical weapons to Libya in the 1980s, Iran's undeclared stocks of riot control agent, and Iran's failure to declare all chemical weapons production facilities.
-- U.S. Department of State
November 20, 2018
The U.S. Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program has offered a $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Iranian national Hossein Ahmad Larijani, who is wanted for illicitly procuring U.S.-origin technology. Larijani was originally indicted in 2010 on export-related charges, including for his role in a 2007-2008 scheme to illicitly procure and transship to Iran, via Singapore, 6,000 U.S.-origin radio transceiver modules. Three of the four Singaporean co-conspirators who assisted Larijani were arrested and extradited to the U.S., where they served a prison sentence before being deported back to Singapore. The fourth co-conspirator remains at large. 
-- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Press Release
November 7, 2018
The United States granted 180-day sanctions waivers to the eight biggest buyers of Iranian oil: China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan, and Turkey. The waivers allow these countries to continuing purchasing some Iranian oil without being a target of U.S. sanctions. Together, these countries account for 75 percent of all Iran's oil exports. Analysts expect Iranian exports to fall from 3 million barrels per day (bpd) in mid-2018 to about 1.5 million bpd, particularly as shipping insurance becomes more difficult to secure. Payments for Iranian oil will be held in escrow accounts in local currency. New waivers are expected to be issued at the end of the 180-day exemption period.
-- Reuters
November 5, 2018
The United States has granted temporary waivers allowing limited nuclear cooperation with Iran. Specifically, the waivers allow for the continuation of projects at the Arak, Bushehr, and Fordow nuclear facilities that impede Iran’s ability to reconstitute its weapon program. The waivers are temporary and may be revoked or modified at any time. They permit work at these facilities despite the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran's Atomic Energy Organization and 23 of its subsidiaries, as a result of which most nuclear cooperation with Iran is sanctionable.
-- U.S. Department of State Press Release